No Filipinos in Bangladesh hijacking attempt – DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   February 25, 2019   •   1327

Security personnel stand guard outside of the hijacked aircraft of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines in the Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram, Bangladesh February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Monday (February 25) that no Filipinos were on board the Biman Bangladesh flight that made an emergency landing following a hijacking incident on Sunday (February 24).

The DFA, citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Dhaka, Flight BG-147 bound for Dubai made an emergency landing at Chattogram airport after an armed passenger attempted to hijack the plane minutes after takeoff.

The DFA on its bulletin said Bangladeshi Civil Aviation and Tourism Office Secretary Mohibul Haque, all 142 passengers were safely evacuated from the aircraft.

According to a report from Reuters, Bangladeshi commandoes stormed the plane and shot the suspect who had said he had a personal issue with his wife and told the pilot he wanted to speak to Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,

He died later from the injuries suffered.

Before the commandos moved in, all 142 passengers were safely evacuated from the aircraft, the officials said. — Marje Pelayo / Reuters

295 Filipinos repatriated from Cayman Islands, London arrive in PH – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 295 Filipino workers and their families repatriated from the Cayman Islands and London have arrived in the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement issued Monday, the DFA said this batch of repatriates is composed of 287 Filipinos from Grand Cayman and eight stranded in London.

They landed on Monday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) onboard an “airbridge” flight organized by the local government of the Cayman Islands.

The DFA said the Cayman Islands, which is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, mounted the “airbridge” flight to provide an opportunity for foreign contract workers to return to their home countries amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The department added that it was made possible with the cooperation of the Office of the Governor of the Cayman Islands Government and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Washington D.C.

“The Manila airbridge flight is but a demonstration of the close Philippine-UK bilateral ties,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said.

Arriola assured that the Philippine Government will continue to work closely with other governments and organizations to mount similar repatriation flights to bring home Filipinos who are in distress as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Upon arrival at NAIA, the  DFA said the repatriates underwent thorough documentation and briefing on current safety protocols prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as well as RT-PCR COVID-19 testing.

“They will be temporarily housed at Bureau of Quarantine-approved facilities for their mandatory quarantine while they await the result of their RT-PCR test,” it said.

Cyclone Amphan tears into India; destroys homes, whips up storm surge

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

A powerful cyclone tore into eastern India and Bangladesh on Wednesday (May 20), destroying mud houses and embankments and whipping up a storm surge along the coast, officials said, after millions of people were moved out of its path.

At least one 70-year-old man was killed by a falling tree in Bangladesh’s coastal Bhola district, a police official said. The low-lying country has evacuated 2.4 million people to shelters.

Another 650,000 people have been moved to safety in the eastern Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal, authorities said, an operation carried out amid surging coronavirus infections.

It was too early to estimate a toll on life or damage to property.

Cyclone Amphan began moving inland with winds gusting up to 185 kph, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the India Meteorological Department, told reporters.

Mohapatra said that the storm surge could rise to around five metres in the Sundarbans delta, home to around four million people and thick mangrove forests that are a critical tiger habitat.

The storm will also sweep past Kolkata, a sprawling city of 4.5 million people, where strong winds uprooted trees and electricity poles, littering several streets, television showed.

A home ministry official said authorities in West Bengal and neighbouring Odisha had struggled to house thousands of evacuees as shelters were being used as coronavirus quarantine centres.

Extra shelters were being prepared in markets and government buildings with allowances made for social distancing, while masks were being distributed to villagers.

Police in West Bengal said some people were unwilling to go to the shelters because they were afraid of being infected by the coronavirus and many were refusing to leave their livestock. (Reuters)

(Production: Peter Brownlie, Mussab Al-Khairalla)

Over 230 Filipino sailors from Germany arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Over 200 Filipino sailors repatriated from Germany have arrived in the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the DFA said a total of 239 Filipino seafarers have been repatriated on May 11, with the help of the Philippine Consulate in Frankfurt.

The latest batch of repatriates was composed of 188 crew of AIDAblu, and 51 of AIDAmar who signed off while their ships were docked at the German Port of Hamburg.

The DFA said it facilitated the arrival of the sailors from Germany while the shipping company, AIDA Cruises, chartered the Condor flight to bring the repatriates home.

The department said the repatriation was organized amidst the cap imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the daily number of arriving overseas Filipino workers in order to manage the existing quarantine protocols and to ensure that OFWs are adequately attended to upon their arrival.

The Philippine government has been repatriating Filipino workers from abroad amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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